Environment Magazine

Iron Fertilisation as a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy

Posted on the 07 October 2011 by Frontiergap @FrontierGap

Iron fertilisation as a climate change mitigation strategy

The topical subject of climate change, and how to deal with it, is an important issue that the scientific community are hotly debating.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) recently hosted a workshop that included a large gathering of researchers from India, Chile, Germany, the Norwegian Polar Institute and the University of Bergen. The aim was to draft a research plan that hoped to address fundamental issues and questions on the interaction between the biogeochemistry of the polar oceans and climate change.
The discussions centred on how complex food web behavior within the Polar Oceans might be altered to help remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The focus of this alteration is on the possible use of iron fertilisation which is known to increase phytoplankton growth.
Phytoplankton are microscopic photosynthetic organisms, that under the correct conditions can form large blooms. They represent the base of all oceanic food webs. Iron is found naturally within the oceans and is an essential component in phytoplankton growth and bloom creation. The large amount of carbon that is taken in by phytoplankton during a bloom is later exported to the deep sea after the bloom has finished. As a result, the artificial promotion of growth in phytoplankton within the oceans, through the use of iron fertilisation experiments, has demonstrated that significant amounts of carbon can be removed from the surface water therefore, reducing the impact of climate change.
The important question to ask is can iron fertilisation be effective enough to reduce CO2 levels globally? The answer to this is simply, no, it can’t. CO2 levels in the atmosphere are currently around 386 parts per million (PPM) with estimates of increases to 2058 PPM by 2100. Using global models, scientists have found that if 20% of the global ocean were fertilised with iron 15 times a year until 2100, only 32 PPM would actually be removed.
Furthermore iron fertilisation has shown to cause a number of different side effects such as the creation of Nitrous oxide (N2O) (which is 300 times more potent than CO2).
The continuous fertilisation of the ocean has been thought to result in the creation of widespread areas of anoxic water and increases in ocean acidification have been predicted. Overall, ecosystems globally may be changed irreversibly.
Consequently, Iron Fertilisation has currently been dismissed as a feasible climate change mitigation strategy. However, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that an effective solution to the climate change problem must be found.    
By Anthony Kubale


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Taming Shakespeare

    Taming Shakespeare

    It hardly seemed credible, from what I heard in high school, that anyone would read Shakespeare if it weren’t required. I’m not completely naive, but I do wonde... Read more

    10 hours, 35 minutes ago by   Steveawiggins
    POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Three Against Two the Tambuka Way

    Western music is based on so-called duple rhythms, patterns of two or multiples of two. There are triple rhythms as well, the waltz for example, but they... Read more

    11 hours, 31 minutes ago by   Bbenzon
    CULTURE, PHILOSOPHY, SOCIETY
  • Downsides of Diet Culture

    Downsides Diet Culture

    Picture of a adorable pug named Biscuit walking toward the camera saying “If I want the Food Police I’ll call Pie-1-1”Today a new blog reader asked me “I’ve... Read more

    12 hours, 7 minutes ago by   Danceswithfat
    DIET & WEIGHT, FITNESS, HEALTH
  • Money, Museums and Men

    Money, Museums

    On the second day of our London jolly, we were planning to take in the view from the Shard, until we realised it was thirty quid a piece. Read more

    12 hours, 30 minutes ago by   Jackscott
    DIARIES, EXPAT, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Shopping in Sarojini Nagar? Here Are 15 Things You Must Know Before You Go.

    Shopping Sarojini Nagar? Here Things Must Know Before

    Planning to visit Sarojini Nagar and have some questions about it? Check out all 15 questions I have covered in here. 4 of them will help you by the best clothe... Read more

    12 hours, 36 minutes ago by   Shoppingaholic
    HAIR & BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE, SHOPPING
  • A Ripple Conversation With Rob "Blasko" Nicholson

    Ripple Conversation With "Blasko" Nicholson

    Let's start with your name and what you do.Let's have it. - Blasko. I wear many hats, but most commonly I am the bass player for Ozzy Osbourne. Start at... Read more

    14 hours, 1 minute ago by   Ripplemusic
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
  • #LondonWalks Walk Of The Week: The Rock'n'Roll Pub Tour With LIVE Music...

    #LondonWalks Walk Week: Rock'n'Roll Tour With LIVE Music #RollingStones Special!

    On Sundays we pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks repertoire and put it centre stage. You can check out the full schedule at www.walks.com. Read more

    14 hours, 4 minutes ago by   Lwblog
    DESTINATIONS, TRAVEL

Magazine